Belfast International Airport's Gatwick route becomes UK's busiest

Andrew Madden

BELFAST International Airport's Gatwick service is now the UK's busiest domestic air route, new figures show.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says the service, which is operated by both Easyjet and Ryanair, overtook the Edinburgh-Heathrow link to become the country's largest domestic route.

Overall, Belfast has overtaken Gatwick to become the UK's fourth largest airport for domestic operations and now just sits behind Edinburgh, Heathrow and Glasgow in the domestic traffic ‘league table'.

CAA's January statistics show how in excess of 77,000 passengers chose the Belfast-Gatwick services, which was more than 1,600 ahead of the traditional headline performer Edinburgh-Heathrow.

The news comes just two weeks after the airport announced that it has resurrected it direct route to the US, running two low-cost services to New York and Boston from July 1 via Norwegian Air.

Belfast International Airport managing director Graham Keddie said the figures were a cause for celebration.

"These are impressive numbers and we see our performance strengthening as the year progresses," he added.

"We remain firmly on course for a record year with more that 5.4 million passengers, and that's down to our airlines and our commitment to do everything we can to expand."

Belfast International Airport passenger numbers increased by more than one third at the start of 2017, based on the same period a year earlier.

The total number of passengers through the airport in January was 380,000, up by 95,000 on the same month in 2016.

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